Ten Healed of Leprosy

11Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.  17Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:11-19).

Why would Jesus send the ten lepers to the priests unhealed, instead of healing them on the spot? It’s interesting to see that Jesus required them to do what a cured leper would do even though they were not healed yet. He required them to take steps of faith and trust in the Word of Jesus. Lepers were commanded to stay at a distance and ring a bell when anyone got anywhere near to warn them. Of course, they were outside the community which is where they saw Jesus. There was no touch, and very little communication, He just told them to go to the priest to get checked out. There may have been a priest in the nearest town, but it more than likely meant that they were to travel to the Temple to see the priest there and get a pronouncement of health to be readmitted into society. This required faith, because they were not yet healed. They were only healed as they were on the journey. As they started on their journey, it would have seemed stupid to them to go and get a healed certificate when their faces and limbs were contorted with Leprosy. One of them was a Samaritan, a person that the Jews did not normally associate with, although we find them together in their misery.

What do you think was on the mind of the Samaritan as he started on the way to the Temple? Could it be that he might have been suspicious of Jesus? Why would this Jewish preacher want to heal an enemy Samaritan? I wonder if he thought that the healing would not work for him, due to the animosity between the Jews and Samaritans. He certainly would not want to go to Jerusalem, the Samaritans worshiped on Mount Gerizim in Samaria. Imagine his surprise that while he is walking, his fingers start to grow and his toes suddenly fill his shoes. He feels that the skin on his face is soft and that his nose has grown out again. He was ecstatic with praise to God and could not contain himself. He left the company of the others and returns to find Jesus and thank Him. This man knew how to give thanks. He shouted loudly to God as he approached Jesus and threw himself on the ground lavishly shouting his praise. How that must have warmed the Lord’s heart!  Let’s never forget to thank the Lord for all he does for us.

Let me issue you a challenge: Think of a situation in your life which needs resolution, it may be an impossible thing to you, but dare to believe that God can work through your simple faith. Is anything too hard for the Lord? Call out to Him and ask Him for faith to believe that He will accomplish what you ask of Him. Then praise Him, loudly!

Keith Thomas

The Healing of the Man with Dropsy

1One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. 3Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away. 5Then he asked them, “If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?” 6And they had nothing to say (Luke 14:1-6).

The Greek word that is translated carefully watched literally means to watch on the side or to watch insidiously. In other words, they were watching out of the corner of their eyes, hoping to catch Jesus on something that He said or did. Was this a set up? I can’t imagine that this Pharisee had it in his heart to invite this man with dropsy to enter his home without a reason; somehow, I don’t think the man’s health was the motive. Luke tells us that it was a “prominent Pharisee” that had invited Jesus. The Pharisees were known for their opposition to him, yet the Lord still reaches out to them around a table of food.

Let’s try to enter the life and pain of the man with dropsy. Today, this condition is called edema. It is a swelling up of parts of the body to grotesque sizes, due to fluid buildup. We could say that he was drowning in his own body fluid. Edema is often caused by organ failure, the heart, kidney or liver. With such a sickness, he was not far from death. We are not told what parts of his body had swelled up, but it was obviously visible to all that were there. If it was in the legs, he would have found it very difficult to walk or even to stand. He was not cared for by the religious crowd; their only interest was to use him to trap Jesus. The Lord saw the ambush coming. This poor, sick man was just the bait in the trap of the Pharisees. The common thinking of the religious elite concerning the poor, sick, and ill, was that their sin was being visited on them by God.

Christ’s heart went out to the man. He would not compromise His value that people come first.  People are precious to Jesus. What would He do? The room grew very quiet as Jesus took up their challenge. The Pharisees believed that one could only help someone on the Sabbath if that person’s life was in danger of being lost.

Jesus shifted the focus of attention from Himself to the Pharisees and lawyers gathered. The Lord has a way of asking a question to make bare a person’s heart. Looking around at them, He said, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” (v. 3). The Greek word translated as lawful means to be authorized, permitted, or is it proper? He wasn’t asking if it was lawful according to the law of Moses. He was asking them to give their opinion on what was proper. They did not anticipate this question. They were perplexed as to how to respond. If they would have spoken up against healing on the Sabbath in front of this very needy man, the state of their calloused hearts would have been revealed, and no-one would have come to that synagogue again! Neither did they want to give Him permission to heal on the Sabbath after thinking that they had Him in a trap. They knew that the Scriptures has no limitations to acts of compassion on the Sabbath.

4But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away. 5Then he asked them, “If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?” 6And they had nothing to say (Luke 14:4-6).

He appealed to their common sense, saying that if their animal was drowning in a well, wouldn’t they get it out? He was first appealing to their economic need, implying that they would have to buy another ox if they wanted to plow their fields. Then, again, if their son had fallen down a well and was drowning, wouldn’t they do what they could to save their son from drowning? This man before them had been drowning in his own fluid, and he was someone’s son. Shouldn’t this son be released from drowning? The passage ends with Luke telling us that they had nothing to say. How cold-hearted false religion can be. Keith Thomas

Jesus Heals a Possessed Crippled Woman

10On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. 14Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” 15The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” (Luke 13:10-16).

The passage we are studying today is about a lady who would probably be diagnosed by physician’s today as Marie-Strümpell Disease, a fusion of the spinal bones. There are no medicines known today that can cure this physical condition. But in this particular case the disease had a spiritual cause rather than a medical. Early in the course of the disease, sufferers often find that the pain is relieved somewhat when they lean forward. Sufferers go through the day leaning slightly forward, and gradually their spine begins to fuse. The more they lean in order to relieve the pain, the greater the angle, until a patient might be bent almost double, as the lady referred to in our passage. The bones become calcified and people are not able to straighten themselves. This lady had lived with this condition for 18 years and it was steadily getting worse.

It was a Sabbath day and the religious rulers would not allow healing to be practiced on the Sabbath; they considered it work. The woman sat there and silently trusted. The Lord Jesus knew the storm of controversy that would erupt at healing the woman on the Sabbath day, but He cared more for people than all the little rules that the religious leaders had put in place. Those that were out for His blood never intimidated Him! This passage is interesting because Jesus didn’t heal her; he set her free from the demon by casting out the spirit. When the spirit was forced to leave her at the command of Jesus, she was released from her ailment. The demon had not only caused this crippling disease 18 years previously, but was still keeping her tied up in a spiritual way. When Jesus put His hands on her, she immediately straightened up. We are told that she praised God. What joy flooded her heart!

At the sound of the woman’s praise, the synagogue ruler angrily tells off the woman accusing her of coming to be healed on the Sabbath. What a cold stone of a man he is! It does not seem right that he is in charge over a congregation of God’s people. Doesn’t it make you wonder how a man with no heart and compassion can lead the flock of God? He is indignant, what a strong word scripture uses about him. Instead of joy at this woman’s deliverance and healing, he is very angry and upset.

The synagogue leader does not scold the Lord for healing her, but this religious person takes it out on His people instead! This woman had patiently sat in her seat; it was Jesus who had called her forward. It strikes me how the Lord is so quick to defend this daughter of Abraham, a child of God, from the attacks of the evil one. The enemy sometimes uses religious people to squelch out the praise of God. One would expect that a leader of this synagogue would be a lover of people, but this man showed no compassion whatsoever. His words betray his heart. Something wonderful and God-honoring had happened in his synagogue and he is angry about it. On the other side, though, we see how kind the Lord is. He encourages her by calling her a daughter of Abraham, even though she had just been released from a demon that had disabled her for 18 years. Jesus speaks words of love and affirmation to her. How kind and reassuring that must have felt to her.

Jesus reminds the synagogue leader that animals are treated better than the Lord’s people under the heavy rules of the Jewish leadership. Doesn’t any man allow his animals to drink in the morning? One can hear the care in His voice for this poor woman that has been under the cruel bondage of Satan for 18 years. Not another day, He says. How about you? Isn’t it time you were released from whatever has bound you. Call upon the Lord with all your heart and He will hear you (Acts 2:21).

Keith Thomas

The Casting Out of a Dumb Demon

37The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.” (Luke 9:37-40).

When Jesus came down from the Mount of Transfiguration, He found a father in desperation. He said to Jesus, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child” (v. 38). His only son was being tortured by an unseen evil spirit. When the spirit came upon him, it tried to kill him by throwing the boy into fire or drown him in water: “He has seizures and is suffering terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water” (Matthew 17:15). The evil spirit waited until he was near a campfire or the home cooking fire before throwing the boy’s body into the flames. Burns, scratches, and cuts were likely seen all over his body as a result. Likewise, whenever there was a river or a well, the spirit would throw the boy into the water with a view to destroy him. The boy could never be left alone, not for a second. It must have been an extremely exhausting, draining, and horrible existence for the entire family, coming face to face with demonic activity on a regular basis! As Jesus came close, the boy screamed at the top of his voice (Luke 9:39). After the scream, the demon threw him to the ground in convulsions (Luke 9:39). The demon took control of the boy’s vocal chords and sense of hearing so that the child became mute (Mark 9:17) and deaf as well (Mark 9:25). Aside from the terrible screams, the demon would not allow the boy to communicate his condition. Think of what this must have been like for him; he was totally isolated. He could not express what was going on inside him to his father or hear any words of comfort from his family.

Mark tells us more: “It slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out” (Mark 9:18). The Greek word that is translated into English as slams him is a very violent word. This was a frightening demonstration of a dark supernatural nature. When the boy is brought to Jesus, he is thrown to the ground having convulsions. He “rolled around, foaming at the mouth” (Mark 9:20), grinding his teeth while becoming stiff as a board. The father’s testimony about his son goes further: “Only with difficulty does it leave him, mauling him as it leaves” (Luke 9:39). When the father describes the mauling, what was he seeing? More than likely, he saw bruises appearing all over the boy’s body as the evil spirit tears him before leaving him until the time of the next attack.

We should not think that this was an epileptic fit, for Luke is a doctor, and I’m sure he knew about such things. We are to take Jesus at His word that it was an evil spirit causing this. As we read the various accounts, this was more than a physical phenomenon. The mauling of the boy before their eyes, the foaming of the mouth, inability to hear, the suicidal tendencies, and the way the spirit reacts to being confronted with the presence of Jesus should be evidence enough that this was not epilepsy. Neither should we make the mistake in thinking that all epileptic fits are demonic in origin. Mark adds that, when the boy is brought to Jesus, the spirit grabs hold of the boy and threw him into convulsions before their eyes as he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth (Mark 9:20). Demons cannot stay hidden before the presence of Christ.

41“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” 42Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43And they were all amazed at the greatness of God (Luke 9:41-43).

There was a visible manifestation as soon as the demonized boy came into the presence of Jesus. Mark tells us, “When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth” (Mark 9:20).

While the boy was being thrown onto the ground by the demon, even though the boy was dumb to the words of Jesus, the Lord spoke to the demon. “But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father” (Luke 9:42). The boy was completely healed as the spirit that had tormented the boy left. What then took place in front of their eyes?  The boy’s scars, burns, and cuts were healed instantly while they all looked on. No wonder Luke records that, “They were all amazed at the greatness of God” (v. 43). I would have loved to have seen their faces and the amazement that they had. I hope there are re-runs in heaven! I would love to have witnessed this deliverance and healing! Keith Thomas

The Healing of the Man Born Blind

1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7“Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing (John 9:1-7).

 The Light of the World

Imagine living your life without the sense of sight and what challenges that would present to you on a daily basis. In our devotional today, we will meet a man that was blind from birth. Jesus had stated in the previous chapter, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). He said this about Himself while up in the Temple Courts (John 8:2), more than likely before the four big giant candelabra’s symbolizing God as the One who had been their light leading them in the darkness during the wilderness wanderings. Notice that He didn’t say I am a light, but I am the light of the world. He claimed exclusively to be Israel’s Light.

Now He is set to prove it as He is leaving the Temple precincts. Often beggars would be sitting near the gates to the temple area, ready to hold out their hands to any worshippers whose hearts were softened by worshiping the Lord. Jesus notices the blind man and stops. The disciples ask Him how this man came to be in this condition, having been born blind. “Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” (Verse 2). The prevailing notion amongst the Jewish people at that time was that God visited upon the children the sins of the parents. The Lord did not enter into the discussion, not being concerned so much with the reason for the man’s blindness, but rather, what He was going to do with the opportunity. He saw it as a chance for the Father to vividly demonstrate that whoever was in darkness, should know the Light of life.

 Put yourself in the shoes of the man born blind. He could hear the conversation between the Lord and his disciples, but didn’t know what was going on. He more than likely heard Jesus collecting spittle in his mouth and spitting it on the ground. I would think that the Lord told him He was about to put something on his eyes. Did he know who it was before the mud was put on his eyes? I think not. He explained later on, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see” (verse 11). If he would have known Jesus he would have said, “Jesus told me to go to Siloam and wash.” Siloam was a pool of water that was sent through a water tunnel that King Hezekiah had constructed, so that water from the Gihon Spring could be sent to the Pool at Siloam (Siloam means sent). Jesus sent the man to wash at the Sent place. I wonder if that while he was blindly trying to find his way to Siloam people were trying to wash the mud from his eyes. I see him fending them off trying to be obedient to the Lord’s commandment to wash only there. Faith took him to Siloam, and he was rewarded for his faith by being totally healed. May your eyes be opened to the darkness of our day too, that you may see the Light of the World, Jesus.       Keith Thomas